Tolle Lege: The Serrated Edge

Readability:  2

Length:  121 pgs

Author:  Douglas Wilson

I really enjoyed reading this little book.  A Serrated Edge is one of those books that while reading it about halfway through I knew I would want to reread it soon.  I probably haven’t had as many LOL moments since reading Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller.  The book is a defense of satire as a legitimate, biblical way of communicating in some instances.  Evangelical Christians need to mock, make fun of, and deal harshly sometimes, and one of the major things such an approach is needed towards is our own camp.

When Jesus looked on the rich, young ruler and loved him, it is very easy for us to say that we should be loving as He was.  When preachers make such applications, no one thinks anything of it.  But when Jesus looked on the rich, old rulers and insulted them, why do we tend to assume that such a division is never, ever to be imitated?  It is conceivable that such a position is defensible, but why does it never have to be defended?  Some might say (and do say) that we are not Jesus, and so we do not have the wisdom to insult properly.  Fine.  So why then do we have the wisdom to love properly?  Can’t we screw that up too?

The faith that produced Augustine and Ambrose, Chrysostom and Calvin, Hodge and Edwards, is no busy trying to evangelize the world by acting dumber than a bag of hammers.

It is one thing to attack murder, rape, and pillage.  It is quite another to attack prayer, rosaries, inspirational study Bibles, John 3:16 skateboards, and counseling pastors who exude empathy for a fee.  These attacks run the risk of being mistaken for an attack on that which is actually being defended.  If I saw someone approaching a priceless Vermeer painting with a can of orange spray paint, I would wrestle him to the ground – not as an enemy to art but as a friend of it.  But in an insulated community of performance artists, the critic of art vandalism is likely to be thought of as an enemy of art itself.

It would be easy to say that our attacks on modern evangelicalism are the result of some kind of contempt for the heritage of evangelicalism.  But actually the reverse is the case.  We are hard on modern evangelicalism because of its contempt for its own heritage.  We have a high level of respect for what this movement used to be.


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